Costa Kapothanasis was only 16 and playing baseball for Cheverus High when the Greek Olympic team was looking for U.S. players of Greek heritage in the summer of 2004.

Next week his Greek roots will take him to Germany to pitch for the Greek national team in the European championships.

Kapothanasis is 22, fresh off a career at Division I Mount St. Mary’s, and will take a leave from his team in the independent Peach State League in Georgia to play in Europe.

“It’s a great opportunity,” said Kapothanasis, a Westbrook native. “I always figured they wouldn’t have a baseball team after those Olympics. But I got a call in the middle of my (senior) season asking if I was willing to go to Germany and if I had a passport.”

Kapothanasis has come a long way since his days with the Stags. He didn’t lift in the gym during high school and graduated at just 155 pounds.

Today he’s 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, and has a fastball topping out at 92 mph. He also throws a cutter and a curveball.

“He was always very dedicated to the game,” said Al Livingston, the former Cheverus coach. “I remember he carried a notebook two inches thick with everything he ever picked up at a clinic. And he was doing that as a freshman. He really loves the game and has always wanted to play as long as he can.”

Kapothanasis is the No. 1 starter for the Albany Quails. He had hoped to be drafted following his career at Mount St. Mary’s, but was 2-7 as a senior with a 6.68 earned-run average in 14 appearances, with 38 strikeouts in 631/3 innings.

He also played three years in the Cal Ripken Senior League in Maryland during college.

Kapothanasis plans to continue playing baseball with the hopes of getting interest from a major league club.

“I’m pretty excited because a lot of the national team coaches are affiliated scouts,” said Kapothanasis. “So it’s another opportunity to get looks from (major league) affiliated teams.”

Kapothanasis and his family had to go through a lengthy process of proving his Greek lineage. His grandfather is from Greece, and the family still owns a home in Kalamata on the Greek coast.

His mom, Kim Kapothanasis, had to get papers from her 80-year-old mother-in-law, a birth certificate from her father-in-law, and have them all notarized.

“It was quite a process,” she said. But worth it, they all said.

“Everybody takes a different route,” said Kim Kapothanasis. “His goal is to continue to play. Go to tryouts and keep going. We’ll see where he lands.”

Said Costa Kapothanasis: “I’m not sure exactly what my role will be, but there are some guys with major-league experience. And others who are minor leaguers looking for the exposure. I’m excited.”

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: [email protected]